When it comes to modern motherhood, the number one burden working and stay-at-home mom’s carry on their back is self-doubt. Along with the fear of not being good enough also comes a major sense of “mom guilt”- the feeling you get when you see other PTO mom’s doing better, or when you miss your kid’s sports meet because you’re tied up at work.
Fortunately, we have moms that “slay” to help guide us, just like Katherine Wintsch, who is practically an expert of motherhood if there ever was one.
In her new book “Slay Like a Mother: How to Destroy What’s Holding You Back“, Wintsch sets out to help improve the mental well-being of modern mothers.
We asked her to touch on the burning topics of working moms- from parenting styles to letting go of “mom guilt.” Here’s what she had to say:
Being a mom affects your mental health
Being a mother means you having 150 new opportunities to doubt yourself. It’s important to note that motherhood doesn’t initiate self-doubt, it simply increases it.
According to my research, 75% of the time, a woman’s “dragon of self-doubt” (as I like to say) is born during or before adolescence and then is heightened when she becomes a mother and second guesses a lot of her decisions.
More pressure on kids means more pressure on parents. Parents today are spending more time at work and more time on childcare – which includes hauling kids around to dozens of activities each week. And most mothers I study are worn out because of it.
Embrace the concept of relaxed parenting
We take the social side of parenting too seriously when we worry about what other people think of our performance as parents.
My advice is to put your head down, do the best you can and not worry about what other people think. That’s the wisdom we’ll live by when we’re 80 years-old, so why not arrive at that point of view a little faster?
Here’s the deal with “mom guilt”…
Mom guilt is off the charts because social media gives us 100 new ways to compare ourselves to other women and feel like we’re falling short. Mothers ten years ago didn’t share photographs of their child’s perfectly packed lunchbox. Unfortunately, we constantly see the wins of other mothers as yet another sign that we suck.
How to draw the line between work and children as a new mom
Trust your gut. When someone asks you to volunteer for yet another bake sale or fundraiser and your first reaction is “Nooooooooo!” then don’t say yes. Listen to that voice in your head that’s trying to convince you to keep more time for yourself.
Remember that saying no to other people can mean saying yes to yourself and that’s never a bad thing.
Work life can tend to dominate your calendar, so make sure you put yourself on your calendar first. That’s hard to do tomorrow, because your calendar is already full, but if you fast forward to sixty days from now, your calendar is not full.
So, fast forward two months from now and begin to put “me time” on your calendar in reoccurring meetings (that’s the key). It could be for yoga, meditation, exercise or even drinking wine with your girlfriends.
In my case, when the future becomes the present, I already have balance built into my life.
The other thing I do is color code the me-time in purple so I immediately know that if there is not enough purple, then I’m slipping into the old habit of thinking that other people deserve my time more than I do.
Recognize your “good mom” moments
The times when we feel like a good mother are so few and far between, so I say get those moments on film!
When you make time for the school field trip, do something kind for the kids or show up in a big way, take a picture, frame it and keep it front and center for the next time you feel like a bad mom.
How to feel less guilty about taking “me” time
This may sound harsh but consider the fact that people don’t care about you as much as you think they care about you. The more you say no, the more you’ll see that the project at work still gets done, the fundraiser at school still goes down and the world keeps spinning. It’s incredibly empowering.
Make sure all of your children feel equally looked after
Take the time to spend one-on-one time with each child. Whether it’s having lunch at their school, spending a morning together or going on a special overnight trip, it’s important to develop an individual relationship with each of your children, especially as they get older.
My favorite part about being a working mom?
I love the ripple effect that my work with mothers has on my children. It brings me such joy to see everything from my son saying, “My mom runs her own company and wrote a book,” to my daughter wearing a bracelet that says “Slay” on it. I hope I’ve shown them the power of never giving up on their dreams.